Martin Coiteux apologizes for answering English question in French

Martin Coiteux apologizes for answering English question in French

Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux says he didn't mean any offence when he spoke French in response to a question posed to him in English during question period yesterday.

Coiteux was criticized by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) for how he prefaced his answer to a question, asked in English, from Québec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir about the investigation into alleged illegal political financing within Coiteux's Quebec Liberal Party.

Coiteux stood and said, in French, that he would "stick to tradition of the National Assembly and answer in French."

On Wednesday, he apologized and said he "didn't choose the right words" before giving his answer.

The QCGN says it's satisfied with Coiteux's apology.

'An insult to the community'

Geoffrey Chambers, vice-president of the QCGN, explained the 1867 Constitution Act allows French or English to be used in the legislative body during debates.

Chambers had said Coiteux's initial comments were especially disrespectful considering he represents the West Island riding of Nelligan, where a third of the constituents are predominantly English speaking.

"Standing up and explaining that it was improper to use the English language, that's an insult to the community, an insult to his electors, many of whom are English, and very hard to understand," he said.

Both the Parti Québécois and the Coalition Avenir Québec said Coiteux could have answered the question in English.

CAQ MNA Éric Caire went a step further, saying Coiteux should have responded in English.

During a news conference Wednesday morning, Khadir said he asked the question in English because he believes Quebec anglophones aren't well informed about corruption within the provincial Liberal Party.